It’s the last week in November and Tiree has experienced crisp sunny days. Daylight hours are in short supply as we move towards the winter solstice on the 22nd of December, but the few hours of daylight have been been a delight. While much of the UK has suffered from either frost, mist or flooding, Tiree has enjoyed some of the highest temperatures in Scotland thanks to its position in the Inner Hebrides, surrounded as it is by Atlantic waters.
This spell of bright sunny weather has brought comments such as, “It’s a pity more people don’t come on holiday at this time of the year.” Or, “Yes! We can have wild winter weather, but we have also some beautiful winter days.”
On several mornings as we have sat down to breakfast the sky has reminded us of marmalade. ‘Breakfast marmalade’. What a treat!
On Thursday morning many commented to me on how close the neighbouring islands appeared. For the past few mornings the Paps of Jura, some fifty miles away, have been surrounded by that ‘breakfast marmalade’.
On Friday morning the temptation to photograph was just too great. Having photographed the rising sun from our south facing window, I just had to go to the nearby monument off Pier Road to capture the scene.
Well if the morning was ‘breakfast marmalade’, was it ‘afternoon tea’ as the sun set in the west?
We had occasion to drive over to Baugh. With the car parked at the Baptist Church premises, I took a walk towards Baugh beach, which looks across Hynish Bay.
With the sun setting behind it, Dr Buchanan’s monument stood out as a silhouette. It is considerably shorter than when we first came to the island, due to the ravages of winter storms.
At the crest of the short brae, a road turns off northward. Immediately on the right is Tyrii Pottery and much further down is a bungalow and a farm, but being a dead end it is a road less travelled. At one time there was a footpath that led to Balephetrish and in living memory it was used by those attending the Baptist Church in Baugh. Now it is a road that just stops abruptly some distance from the bungalow.
The island’s fire appliance was out on the road. Thankfully there was no blue flashing light.
All around cattle could be seen grazing. At this time of the year they are to be found on the Reef and during the hours of darkness motorists have to be especially vigilant for black cows, and other varieties, on the road.
By now the sun was low in the sky and was setting behind Ben Hynish. Was the sky taking on the colour of ‘afternoon tea’? Perhaps the imagination was suffering from the effects of the sun being so low in the sky.
On top of Ben Hynish sits the NATS Radar station commonly referred to as the “Golf Ball’. This landmark can be viewed from most of the island. This evening with the sun setting behind it, the buildings stood out as a silhouette.
What a day it has been! From sunrise to sunset. And in between blue skies with hardly a breath of wind.
Here’s hoping the good weather continues as we head off for a short visit to the Mainland. Due to continuing problems in the ferry network the MV Clansman will make a trip from Oban to Colonsay and return before setting out for Tiree at 11:05am. As a result the ferry will not arrive at Tiree until 2:50pm with an advertised arrival in Oban at 6:55pm. This is too late for foot passengers to connect with public transport for onward journeys to Glasgow and beyond – the uncertainties and joys of ‘island life’.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’.